business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  From the Wall Street Journal this morning:

"ESPN is laying the groundwork to sell its channel directly to cable cord-cutters as a subscription-streaming service in coming years, according to people familiar with the matter, a shift with profound implications for the company and the broader television business.

"Executives at ESPN and its parent, Disney, for years have said it was inevitable that the sports-TV channel would one day be available as a stand-alone streaming service. Now, as consumers increasingly cut the cable-TV cord, the company is actively preparing for that shift under a project with the internal code name 'Flagship,' the people said. The company has set no firm timeline for the change.

"ESPN would continue to offer the TV channel after launching a streaming option, the people familiar with the matter said. Still, the change could have a major impact on cable-TV providers, since ESPN is one of the main attractions of the cable bundle. The providers pay to carry the ESPN channel and would have to compete with the new streaming service."

Just another reflection of the continuing shift of customers from traditional business models to newer versions of content and product consumption. This stuff doesn't happen in a vacuum - it is all part of a larger continuum.  Retailers need to pay attention.